Epic Granola Bars! (Vegan and GF!)

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Ever have one of those weeks where you just feel like you’re under water? Mine’s been kind of like that this week. Just more to do than I think can humanly be done. Fortunately for me, I’ve got a lovely trip to Mexico coming up on Sunday, and a couple of days off to catch up (and breathe, and maybe stop treading water). Traveling gf style can be tricky. More and more airports have gluten-free goodies, but they often cost upwards of $3 or $4 for a granola bar, and I’ll be honest, as a student that seems like a lot of money for little snack bar. So, these tasty little friends came to be. P1020953_2 They’re extremely customizable, so just use what you’ve got on hand. This combination of fig, date, oats, almonds, chocolate, coconut shreds, chia seeds, and maple syrup is sooooo good though. Lovely and chewy with just the right amount of sweetness, I find myself wanting to high-five these bars, but as it turns out, granola bars don’t really give a solid high-five back. It’s much more satisfying to eat them.P1020952_2   To make these, you need:

1. 5 cups gluten-free oats

1 cup puffed rice cereal

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

3-4 squares of dark, dark chocolate, chopped into small bits

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup maple syrup

6 dried figs, chopped

5 dates, chopped and pitted

a dash of nutmeg

a dash of cinnamon

1/8 cup waterP1020956_2Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. I know, that sounds like such a complex step. One of the many reasons homemade granola in any form is the best.P1020958_2If you have an 8 x 8 inch dish, use that, but if not, I found that two bread pans worked out just fine. Either way, line the pan (or pans) with parchment paper, and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Don’t be afraid here. Press really hard! The better pressed it is, the better your bars will stick together. Now bake for 30-40 minutes, until the tops is golden brown.P1020961_2Remove the parchment and granola from the pan, and let cool completely before cutting into bars.P1020967_2Take them anywhere, eat, and enjoy!

Ice Cream Cake = Birthday Happiness (Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free!)

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Yesterday was my birthday, and while I may now be 32, some things haven’t changed since I started eating solid food. For example, my undying devotion to ice cream cake. It may be one of the most perfect foods. Somehow, even though I don’t really like cake, when you add ice cream and freeze the whole deal, it’s amazing! This year ice cream cake from the DQ wasn’t going to cut it though. My days of dairy and gluten and buckets of sugar are now days of yore. I took it as a challenge and came up with this insanely, stupidly delicious “cake.”

So, what  do these ingredients have in common? Well, they make a wicked tasty cake. Duh.

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Let’s go layer by layer, shall we? Layer one is a mixture of oats, almonds, dates, and maple syrup, all ground down to a granola bar consistency. Layer two (this one is the real surprise winner) is chocolate avocado mousse. What?! Avocado mousse?! YES. Totally amazing and weird. And finally, layer 3 (this is where I get lazy) is my favorite vegan ice cream from Molly Moon’s here in Seattle, vegan coconut chunk. Oh, I should also mention that between each layer is a very thin layer of coconut shreds. Mmmmmmmm….

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So, to make this baby, let’s also go layer by layer by layer.

Layer 1:

1 cup oats (gluten-free)

1 cup almonds

5 soaked dates, pitted (soaked at least 3 hours)

2-3 Tablespoons of maple syrup

Layer 2:

1 avocado, very ripe

4 Tbsp raw cacao powder

5 soaked dates, pitted (as above)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Layer 3: 

Your favorite vegan ice cream, softened to an easily spreadable texture

To make, find either a cake pan or I just used a parchment-lined pyrex dish. Start by combining all ingredients for layer one in a food processor or magic bullet until you can easily mold the mixture into a ball and have it stick together. Press it into the bottom of the parchment-lined dish. Place in freezer and freeze for 1-2 hours, until hard.

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Sprinkle layer 1 with shredded coconut. Now, in a food processor or magic bullet, combine all ingredients for layer 2. Evenly spread across layer 1, sprinkle with coconut shreds, and freeze for 1-2 hours.

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For layer 3, taken softened ice cream and spread over layer 2 (make sure layer 2 is fully frozen!). Freeze for another 1-3 hours and serve! Keeps well in freezer, but I won’t lie, it nearly didn’t make it past day 2 in our house.  Enjoy! 🙂

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